The vinyl industry is a mess — and this British company wants to fix it

0
7

Vinyl has undergone one hell of a renaissance. In 2006, the format was effectively dead. But since then? Vinyl records have experienced year-on-year growth, with the US alone clocking 41.7m units sold in 2021, a 45-fold increase from 16 years ago. While in Germany, sales went from 0.3m in 2006, to 4.5m last year.

Those numbers are somewhat misleading though — and their exuberance hides a darker story. Vinyl sales are strong, but the industry itself is at breaking point. From rising costs to a huge printing backlog, from mainstream label dominance to environmental concerns, and from material shortages to outdated equipment, records are being held together by a shoestring.

But — and there’s always a “but” in these pieces —wherever there’s a problem, there’s a potential to fix it. And, of course, to make some money along the way. In this instance, that mantle is being taken up by elasticStage.

Who or what is elasticStage?

Greetings, tech nerd!

Are you into gadgets? And apps? And other cool tech stuff? Then this weekly newsletter is for you.

Well, elasticStage is a British company co-founded by two Austrians: Steve Rhodes and Werner Freistaetter. Each of them have worked in the music industry as recording artists and behind the boards. The pair teamed up six years ago to create a machine they claim is the world’s first “on-demand” manufacturer of vinyl.

This isn’t Freistaetter’s first foray into this field of one-off record production either, as he founded Vinyl Carvers in 2002, a company that allows people to create a single vinyl disc. Rhodes and Freistaetter started elasticStage to take this idea further. While Vinyl Carvers targets DJs and people who want one or two songs on a disc, elasticStage wants to alter the entire sector.

It claims to have created a technology — which currently has a patent pending — that can not only be profitable from producing a whole record, but is also endlessly scalable. For all intents and purposes, they believe they’ve found the magic bullet that can transform vinyl. To find more out, I spoke with Rhodes, elasticStage’s CEO.

steve rhodes elasticstage